Homeownership is not fit for every lifestyle

After a year writing about homeownership and its benefits, the premise of this article may seem a little odd. Follow along and maybe you will understand what I mean.

America and the right of all to own real property was a novel concept in the 1700s. Most countries did not allow anyone except members of the royal or ruling class to own property throughout history. The natural extension of property ownership was home ownership, and it became the cornerstone of the Realtor organization.

Today, America enjoys one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world. The question can then be asked, “Is home ownership for everyone?” I believe the answer might be “no.”

Some people are natural homeowners. They love to tend to home repairs, lawn maintenance, general fix-ups and remodeling. Homeowners know they will devote time, energy and money for many years to maintain, improve and personalize their home. It is these factors that generally separate good homeowners from good tenants.

Some people have no skill or desire to maintain a home. Landscaping, gardening, painting and decorating are neither their passion nor skill. These people might be great tenants or condominium owners where the association or landlord takes care of those functions. Other times we see people who are totally absorbed in their jobs, constantly traveling across the country — these people can’t fit home maintenance into their schedule and also make more natural condo owners or apartment tenants.

Some people who don’t make good homeowners make great tenants. Their nomadic lifestyle fits nicely into paying landlords to maintain the grounds and repair things like furnaces or plumbing problems. The convenience of not devoting free time to property maintenance is worth the cost. Remember that acting as a landlord and providing that convenience to tenants is worth a profit. The freedom to move from city to city or state to state without worrying about selling or buying is very important to some people.

Homeownership may be a large part of the financial fabric of America, but it means more than just being an owner occupant of a dwelling. Home is more an emotional term than a financial or legal term. Therefore Realtors know that providing a dwelling to someone for them to call home is just as important to the American way of life.

Our constitution offers “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” for all Americans to take advantage of as they choose. Realtors offer the “pursuit of home ownership” for all, but all may not want to be, or be suitable for the ownership part.

Darlene Mink-Crouse is the 2018 president of the Warren Area Board of Realtors.

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